This is the second part of Class M Planets trilogy of albums about neighborhoods in Chicago and while it's been a good few years since I last walked around Ravenswood, I have some good personal memories of it and don't remember it making me think it should be sound tracked by gentle indie music as it was more of a fast driving blues and jazz kind of place to me with lots of underground psyche edges to it.
No they didn't record the album in Chicago but in Portland where Class M Planets are currently based while trying to re-imagine parts of Chicago as a Hieronymus Bosch painting set to music, well I certainly had some out there experiences in that part of Chicago in the 90's.
The opening Awkward is a sparse song about looking for something that may be hard to find in a neighborhood like Ravenswood.
Things take an odd turn on Invasive Species that feels like you may have had a bong or two too many in a basement, as the weird instrumentation of an askew jazz inflected acoustic indie song, like you started hanging out with some old Polish jazz heads in the hood and they were still dreaming of Monkirk as you keep telling us to keep on going out there.
Yer Wings draws you in with strings and super restrained drums almost like your staring up and dreaming of a Lincoln Park sonata as you listen carefully to figure out the lyrics as this gets floatier.
Liquefied is fey lightweight indie with a few good twists as they get restless and try to make sure they stay alive and breathing.
Wrong Tambourine is about one of those Chicago winter nights when the heat isn't on and you huddle up trying to stay warm. Easy is like the most gentle Lilac Time or Clem Snide song while they try to figure out how to make things easier than they are.
Skyward gives me the feeling of sitting in one of the open spaces on Irving Park Road which would take us just outside Ravenswood, and staring at the sky at dawn while walking back from a wild night out trying to make sense of what happened and yes I may have felt like I'd seen the same ghost that is being sung about.
Change is a song that mentions Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies that I first encountered in Logan Square back in the late 80's and I'm sure they never pointed us to Ravenswood although it would have been a short drive from there and well this is as spare a late night strum as they come.
Nervous Breakthrough is a slight slow gentle building song about trying to finally break on through to a better place.
Molasses sound like they have been poured over a cake that you want to eat in an old school diner like The Alps while dreaming of Steve McQueen in a Prefab Sprout kind of way. Free Wishes whispers in your ear about pink lemonade that I hope is laced with something good.
Arson feels like a really relevant song, to anyone like me, who has visited a friend post a fire in Chicago and tried to help them put the place together again, although this seems to contain little of the anger and angst that follow the fire so this is more the planning stages of the Arson with some weird sci-fi instrumentation.
Flat Earth is almost as flat at Ravenswood and much of Chicago often seemed as they seem to whisper in our ears like it's the middle of the night and they want to lull us into sleep and agreeing the earth is flat.
The album closes with Ok that sounds Ok in a gentle background strum kind of way it won't set your world on fire but it will just help you to remain calm and serene like much of this album does.
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